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Monday, March 25, 2013
Determining if UT is truly on the right track

By Sean Adams

AUSTIN, Texas -- Is Texas on the right track? Here are five things to look for in the spring game on Saturday that will help determine the Longhorns' true trajectory.

1. David Ash will be in clear command of the offense and will be the unquestioned leader of the offense if Texas is headed in the right direction for 2013. Texas fans, the media and even the coaches have wondered and guessed at when the Texas football program would become Ash's. Two seasons and the number of starts some guys would call a career, it is Ash's turn to own the quarterback position, his team and for the most part his legacy as signal-caller at the University of Texas.

David Ash
Quarterback David Ash can reassure Texas fans with a strong performance in the Longhorns' spring game.
Ash is probably the one guy that can put to rest much of the anxiety that has captured most of the Texas football fanbase over the last few years. Nobody likes a rudderless ship, and Texas fans have felt that way about their beloved Longhorns.

If Texas is on the right track for 2013, all Texas fans will see a different Ash in the spring scrimmage. He’s has two solid years, two bowl wins and all the time in the world to develop himself into the leader that Texas needs. If he has accomplished that, 2013 and 2014 will be very good junior and senior years.

2. Players will be playing fast and not thinking as much during the formation and execution of plays. This will be especially true on the offensive side of the ball.

Some folks will tell you that changing offensive coordinators and adding a tempo element to the offense should bring about a sense of confusion within the offense that should be reflected in the spring scrimmage.

I do not agree.

With a starting quarterback returning, three big-time backs including the starter, the entire offensive line and the top two receivers, why should they not look comfortable in the Texas offense? They are not running a totally different offense. They are running at a different pace and a different play-calling convention. Changing the play-calling, the aggression factor and the personnel side of the offense has nothing to do with the players and has everything to do with Major Applewhite.

3. The offense will be playing fast and running faster. I appreciate Mack Brown's desire to push the tempo with the look-back concept on offense but in my mind that still takes a back seat to using the speed on the roster.

Even with the hamstring injury that could shelve Jaxon Shipley, the Longhorns have plenty of speed on offense. Enough to get the ball in speedy hands on every single down.

From Johnathan Gray to Daje Johnson to Mike Davis to Kendall Sanders to the mix of speed and power with Malcolm Brown, you should see plenty of speed on display on Saturday night.

4. If this Texas team is headed in the right direction, you should see command performances from every position group on the field.

There are future NFL players at running back, wide receiver, the offensive line, the defensive line, linebacker and the defensive backfield. That kind of talent should be reflected during a spring scrimmage for a team that has a lot on the line and a few positions still battling for depth-chart finalizations.

5. There should be confidence in every statement that comes from the coaching staff. You can be confident in who you have and who you will be even if you have a ton of work to do.

I do not believe anyone thinks this team will be ready to play a regular-season game on Saturday, but they don’t have to be ready. They can be well on their way, and you will be able to tell from the comments of the coaching staff.

I am not talking about false bravado. I am talking about a genuine confidence in the plan to get the University of Texas back, not only in the Big 12 conversation but in the national college football conversation as well.